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It Works Both Ways

A friend of mine shared the following quote (attributed to Aagam Shah) with me today:

“If you know me based on who I was a year ago, You don’t know me at all. My growth game is strong. Allow me to reintroduce myself.” 

This is a good affirmation to keep in mind, but I’d like to add the following:

It works both ways.

A former coworker once told me “we judge ourselves based on our intentions, but we judge other people based on their actions.”

In our own eyes, we’re complex evolving beings and everyone else should consider a multitude of factors when making judgments about us. When it’s our time to sit in the judgment seat, however, it’s easy to reduce others to whatever image that best fits our memory of them. This is why we want people to quickly forgive us when we cut them off on the highway, but we also want to see them eternally punished when they do the same to us. We’re just human beings doing our best. Others are evil androids sent by the devil himself to torment us.

It takes a little work to remember, but it’s well worth the effort: Just as we have the right to move on from our own past failings, so does the next person.

While you’re busy demanding respect for your own growth, don’t forget to extend that same consideration to others.

Is It Really True That You Don’t Care About Money?

When people constantly feel the need to say things like “I don’t care about money,” I think they mostly mean something like “I don’t enjoy looking at price tags” or “I fully expect someone else to do the magic necessary to finance my dreams” or “I don’t see the connection between my lifestyle preferences and basic economics.”

I think they rarely mean something like “I don’t care about the experiences and options that come along with money.” I’ve met a few people who truly mean that, but those people never complain about their options and their lives are way too simple to look interesting on instagram.

The people who talk the most about not caring about money are usually the ones who have the most expensive tastes. But since they hardly ever contemplate the economic implications of their “non-monetary” choices, they equate “not caring about money” with “not wanting to own a Lamborghini.” Their logic is “I don’t feel the need to own a whole lot of shiny objects. Therefore, I don’t care about money.”

And the people who care a lot about money are usually the ones who talk about it the least because they’re too busy working on money-producing projects that will help them enjoy all the beautiful things that money can be used as a tool for creating.

If you want to know how people really feel about money, don’t listen to anything they say. Just watch what they do with their time and take note of all the economic conditions that make their activities possible. And pay close attention to who pays the bill. Because there’s always a bill and there’s always someone paying it.

Make The Strangers Mad

If you’re advocating what I believe, just say it in the funniest or catchiest way possible.

If you’re doing anything else, please include a preface, a lexicon, a bibliography, and enough footnotes to ensure no one in the history of humankind ever misunderstands.

Sincerely,

The Internet

P.S.

If you truly want to have an impact, don’t hedge. Or as Gary Vaynerchuck says “don’t be the guy in the middle.” Write with conviction.

Don’t write for voices in your imagination that uncharitably scrutinize every possible loophole in what you say. Write for the audience who actually cares to listen to the things you care to write about. Non-believers and hecklers exist for every philosophy. There’s no use in trying to avoid them.

Isaac Morehouse once told me that “most people sell their souls for nothing more than not having a stranger get mad at them.” Make the strangers mad. This world can handle the presence of angry strangers. What it can’t handle is an abundance of people who don’t have the guts make a point.

It’s Not The Advice, It’s How You Apply It

Advice giveth and advice taketh away.

Information is free, but choices are not. They always involve hidden costs and unknown variables. Whenever you act on an idea, there’s a chance that it works out better or worse for you than the people you got the idea from.

In your efforts to study “the success secrets of the rich and famous,” don’t forget the following: every good conceptual tool has a context within which it is harmful or unwise to use.

Keep learning and keep creating, but don’t waste your time looking for something that’s risk-free.

Risk-free advice doesn’t exist — no matter what all those articles about “what successful CEO’s eat for breakfast” tell you.

Your Adventure Isn’t The Only One

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

The only people who are more underestimated than dreamers are the people who dreamers routinely dismiss as being boring and uncreative.

It can be easy for those of us who self-identify as “creative types” and “adventurous spirits” to get so absorbed in our own concept of what makes life interesting that we make the mistake of assuming we have a monopoly on what it means to live freely and fully.

Living the good life takes many forms. And although each person is epic and eccentric in their own eyes, every single one of us is the prototype of someone else’s very definition of “loser.”

If you really want to create an extraordinary life, don’t underestimate all the ordinary people around you who seem to be living ordinary lives. They’re only ordinary to you. In someone else’s eyes, they’re cooler than you could ever hope to be. And the ones who are the most cool are usually the ones who have the easiest time appreciating forms of cool different from their own.

Life is an adventure indeed. And nothing enhances that adventure more than the ability to learn from those who find meaning and magic in the places that strike us as mundane.

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